Those who grew up in industrialised countries probably know what I’m writing about. We are born, attend kindergarten, then school. We are supposed to graduate with good grades and then go to university (especially if we don’t know what to do otherwise), get a degree, maybe continue studying for a higher degree, and then work, marry, have kids, care for them, be a good grandma/dad and die.
There are points in your life where you probably wish for this – a normal life, just to be happy with what you get… I do that too sometimes. Other times, however, I feel somewhat imprisoned. I just want to pack my rucksack and ‘run away’, have an adventure, on my own, experience life, simply live. True, reality would probably look a little less awesome (freezing nights spent outside?), but nevertheless, all would just make you feel more alive, show you what life really is about and broaden your horizon.
Then, however: Travelling alone (as a young girl in my case) is probably not such a great idea. Also, you have family and friends that might not be happy to see you do such a crazy (my mother would call it ‘irrational’) thing (though as for me, they should be somewhat used to it). And university would not be happy for me to be just gone from one day to the other without making any referral arrangements or the like, and I would not be happy coming back hearing that unfortunately, since I ‘just left’, all I did so far was for nothing (well I don’t really think they’d do that, but with all those regulations and the system you call ‘bureaucracy’, you never know…).
So what, then? Wait until we’re old and grey and have nothing to lose (as in, if someone murdered us on the highway, we’d have died at some point very soon anyway)? Try to ignore our inner drive for (real) freedom and just make it ‘work’ as everyone else until then? I guess, a little planned get-aways with friends, including some hitchhiking, couchsurfing and skipping (or: dumpster diving) is as good as it gets these days. Times change, you never know how.
I remember my dad saying when I was around 10 and we saw a homeless person trying to sleep in a bus shelter: “When you’re out of the house, I want to become one of them.” I did not understand; why would you want to live on the streets, beg, freeze, starve…? I understand better now; when it comes to choosing between a life captured within society and freedom, no matter how bad that freedom may look like, it may be a relief.
(ps: my dad is now in his 60s and not (yet) living on the streets)